Posted by: rbmcarriers | June 5, 2008

Shaking up the Transportation Industry

David Bradley, the CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance was invited to speak at a forum in Fredericton, New Brunswick and outlined three priorities that are required for the transportation industry.

Here’s the outline of his speech transcribed from CTA’s website.  What are your views?  What do you think should be our first priority?

CTA Chief Gives His Three Priorities for Shaking Up Canada’s Transportation Industry

The theme for the 2008 annual meeting of the Canadian Transportation Research Forum underway in Fredericton, NB, is Shaking Up Canada’s Transportation System. David Bradley, CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance was one of the transportation industry leaders invited yesterday to speak on his industry’s three essential priorities.

Ensuring a strong, competitive customer base featuring an efficient, predictable, and reliable supply chain was Bradley’s first priority. “Truckers are in the transportation service business,” he said. “With all the issues currently conspiring to alter the volume, trajectory, and mix of freight in North America capacity of available truck service and balance of freight to, from, and within Canada, has changed drastically. In some parts of the country, there is too much capacity, in others not enough it seems. Where the economics of trucking is predicated on how empty a trailer is many lanes have seen balance turned on its head. To counteract both the capacity and balance challenges many things need to occur but it is essential to the trucking industry that we have a strong and diverse customer base that can create freight volume and allow carriers a better opportunity to balance their loads.” He said this is an issue whether you are a transborder carrier operating between Canada and the US; or a carrier operating between Alberta and the rest of the country.

While the responsibility for creating that customer base rests with the industrial sectors themselves to improve their competitiveness and for governments to use the means at their disposal to encourage direct investment in Canada (through reduced business taxes, infrastructure investment, smart borders, etc.), Bradley said that trucking can also play a role if it is allowed to do so. And, his second priority would be to remove impediments from the trucking industry’s ability to contribute to a strong, competitive customer base. “The hallmark of the trucking industry is its service, its efficiency and its productivity,” he said. “But further efficiency and productivity gains are constrained in part by aging and rigid regulation of such things as weights and dimensions, taxation of investment in business inputs, a lack of harmonization of truck safety standards, congestion due to bottlenecks on the highways, and a thickening of the border.” Taxing investment in new equipment, for example, and requiring carriers to take a payload penalty in order to accommodate fuel efficiency devices on their trucks makes little sense,” he argued. “Especially now that fuel has displaced labour as a carrier’s number one operating costs in many cases.”

By accomplishing the first two priorities, Bradley said conditions would be created that would assist carriers in what is perhaps their number one priority – earn a reasonable rate of return on investment. “We shouldn’t have to be shy about stating that our companies’, like any other businesses’, goal is to maximize profit. That’s what creates jobs and wealth for all.”

Bradley was also quick to state that in today’s world the industry’s economic goals are more closely aligned with society’s environmental and safety goals than ever before. “Safety is good business; and with commercial diesel fuel prices going through the roof, improved fuel efficiency is a major preoccupation for the trucking industry,” he said.


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